, Gloucester, MA

August 22, 2013

N.H. man gets 52 years in Frontiero slaying

By Marjorie Nesin
Staff Writer

---- — The man who pleaded guilty last month to a 2011 stabbing that killed former Gloucester resident Paul Frontiero III in Nashua, N.H., has been sentenced to 52 years in prison.

Matthew Packer, 21, had pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in July in the October 2011 stabbing death of the 27-year-old Frontiero. Packer was sentenced Wednesday in Hillsborough County (N.H.) Superior Court South.

Frontiero’s parents, Cathy and Paul, both of Gloucester, said in the court that they are pleased Packer will no longer be able to hurt anyone. The Times could not reach the family via phone for additional comment, but his father had also reached out to thank the Gloucester community for its support after Packer pleaded guilty in July.

“All the support we received when this first happened was a really big help to us,” the elder Frontiero said in July.

Paul Frontiero III, an EMT who was living in Nashua at the time of the fatal stabbing, had rushed to the rescue of his two female roommates, who Packer, then 19-years-old, was attacking with a knife outside their apartment building. Packer pleaded guilty, too, on charges of first-degree assault for stabbing and slashing the two women.

An expert witness testified that Packer suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, caused by emotional and physical abuse during his childhood, and said that had triggered his actions.

Packer’s attorney had sought a shorter sentence — 30 years to life — while the Attorney General’s Office was requesting the judge impose a 60-years-to-life sentence.

The Frontiero family first learned the intricate details of the crime at the July plea hearing, hearinging details about the incident that they had avoided before. Frontiero’s mother, Cathy, at that time, had expressed her hope to see Packer off the streets and away from the public.

“It’s been a nightmare that we’re reliving all over again, but we’re relieved that Matt Packer will be behind bars and he can do to no other family what he has done to ours,” she said.

Frontiero’s parents remember their son as a “giving man.”

The 2003 graduate of Londonderry High School had worked as an emergency medical technician in Dorchester and had aspired to work on a medical helicopter transport team as a paramedic.

Frontiero’s October 2011 funeral from Greely Funeral Home and St. Ann’s Church in Gloucester drew a large contingent of emergency response personnel, in addition to scores of family members, relatives and friends. He had three brothers.

Frontiero had also participated in a mission group from Cape Ann’s Holy Family Parish that carried out projects in Cevicos, Dominican Republic. He had been scheduled to join the group for a return trip to the Dominican before he was killed.

Marjorie Nesin can be reached at 978-283-7000, x3451, or at